Driverless trials welcomed

The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) detailing its £10m investment in collaborative research and development projects to research further how driverless cars can be integrated into everyday life in the UK.

Launched in partnership with the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the competition will identify up to three towns or cities to host trials of driverless cars and other road vehicles in a real-world environment. Bids, which must include the involvement of a local authority, can be registered up until midday on 24 September 2014, with the trials themselves scheduled to start on 1 January 2015.

Pointing to the extensive work already carried out by the Transport Systems Catapult in the field of driverless vehicles, CEO Steve Yianni said that the TSC was ready to provide further assistance and know-how in support of the TSB competition.

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward in terms of accelerating the development and deployment of driverless vehicles on UK streets, and we will certainly be talking to the TSB in the coming days and weeks about using our organisation’s expertise to help make this competition a success,” Mr Yianni said.

“We have already acquired a lot of knowledge from running the LUTZ Pathfinder project which will be putting driverless pods on the pavements of Milton Keynes next year, and this has provided us with invaluable experience – not only in regards to the technological requirements, but also in terms of the necessary safety standards, legislative requirements and public acceptance of the technology – all of which will be key factors in the TSB trials.”

The TSC is leading the LUTZ Pathfinder project on behalf of the UK Automotive Council and has already commissioned the Coventry-based SME RDM Group to build three electric-powered self-driving pods for testing on the pavements of Milton Keynes in 2015. The pods will be equipped with navigation and detection systems developed by Oxford University’s Mobile Robotics Group.

The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) is an independent centre for innovation which connects businesses with the UK’s research and academic communities. One of seven Catapults created by the Technology Strategy Board, the TSC is driving the UK’s global leadership in Intelligent Mobility: the efficient and cost-effective movement of people and goods.

Media enquiries relating to the LUTZ Pathfinder project can be addressed to Transport Systems Catapult communications manager Mark Ledsom on 07508 023 758, or via mark.ledsom@ts.catapult.org.uk

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